GLENS FALLS -- Glens Falls Mayor John “Jack” Diamond said there has been virtually no opposition to putting Glens Falls Civic Center up for sale.
Only one person has contacted him, so far, who feels it should stay a publicly owned facility.
“He’s the only person I’ve run into that has expressed reluctance to selling the building,” Diamond said.
The Common Council on Tuesday took the first step in the process of putting the arena up for sale when the council voted unanimously to seek bids for a real estate appraiser to appraise the Civic Center.
The appraisal is to be completed by mid-July, in time for the Common Council to conduct a public hearing in late July or early August on the mayor’s intention to have a public referendum on the November ballot on whether the city should offer the Civic Center for sale.
If the referendum passes, a public auction would be held in 2014.
The city would set a minimum price, and could reject any and all bids.
The purchaser would be required, in deed and contract, to honor all events booked at the arena prior to the sale date.
Developer Richard Schermerhorn recently expressed interest in buying the arena, if the city would sell it at “a reasonable price.”
Schermerhorn, of Queensbury, has also said he would consider buying a professional hockey team and relocating it to Glens Falls.
Offering the arena for sale is one of the options an Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce task force on the Civic Center plans to discuss.
The task force includes government officials and business leaders.
Other options could include establishing a regional authority to own and operate the arena, establishing a regional Civic Center subsidy plan, selling naming rights, or, as a last resort, closing the arena.
Government officials and business leaders are looking for ways to spread the cost of the arena over a larger regional base.
The city, which owns the arena, must cover operating losses and debt at the arena, budgeted for this year to be $605,360.
Diamond has said the subsidy likely will be significantly higher if the city is unable to recruit a new American Hockey League tenant.
The Adirondack Phantoms, which uses the Civic Center as its home ice, are expected to relocate for the 2014-15 season to a new arena being built in Allentown, Pa.
Diamond said he looks forward to the initial task force meeting Thursday.
“Maybe there’s some ideas. We’re going to find out,” he said.
Earlier this month, Lake George Mayor Robert Blais proposed a regional subsidy plan, under which municipalities surrounding Glens Falls would make annual contributions to the arena.
Officials in the surrounding municipalities quickly rejected the proposal.